Tags: Advertising, business model, focus groups, Marketing, monetizing, Research, UGC, video
In their new September issue, Fast Company magazine features a fascinating story about the comedy web video business and how it’s almost impossible to make these websites profitable.
They lay out many of the current business models, but I think an addendum is useful. In this post, I will outline a mindset that hurts that industry, what the current business model is and why it doesn’t work, a suggestion to ensure profitability, and the business model that can make an online video site profitable.
First, The Mindset
We tend to think about web videos as a “thing.” It is a product. It is content.
Forget this mindset. If you’re a video producer, web video might be a tangible thing that comes from tangible people sitting around your tangible office. But it’s not.
For your audience, web video is an experience. There’s no actual product for the viewer – the video elevates the spirits or gives us hope or connects us to others. It has more in common with a trip to Disneyland than it does with buying razor blades.
So stop thinking of a video as a commodity and start thinking of it as an experience you provide for your viewer.
Second, The Model
As the Fast Company article points out, the prevailing business model is advertiser-based. This has been the case for most things in the U.S. for more than half a century.
However, the advertiser business model cannot support web video. Consider it: the marketplace is fragmented, niche sites have the most loyal visitors, online is still new to many advertisers, audience has a decreased appetite for ads, and the content (at least on the comedy sites) is oftentimes…edgy, to put it diplomatically.
Even off-shoots of the advertiser model don’t work, such as product placement and sponsored shows. The huge conglomerates that have the money to invest in these small comedy sites only know these sorts of models – give the product away in exchange for some advertiser time.
No matter how many times you throw money at the problem, this business model still doesn’t work.
But that doesn’t mean web videos will never be profitable. (Misters Murdoch and Branson, please have your assistants print out the following explanation.)
Tags: blogging, blogs, Business, Communication, Marketing, micro-blogging, Online marketing, Social Media, Twitter, Web 2.0
This is a brief users guide for those curious about how it works, wondering about its value, and wanting to get the most from the experience.
What Is Twitter?
Twitter is commonly referred to as “micro-blogging.” While this is an accurate description, I’ve found that it confuses some people (non-bloggers especially).
Imagine it is a post-it note. You don’t have a lot of space (140 characters) so brevity is required. When you jot something down on your post-it note, it gets stuck to your refrigerator door, much like you might do at home. However, in this scenario, anyone can see the notes posted on your frig. And you can see anyone else’s.
How Does It Work?
Like most web 2.0 applications, the best advice is to just try it out. (You can’t do it wrong and you won’t break it – just give it a whirl.)
You sign up with a name of your choice. After that, find people you know or are interested in following. Twitter can pull from your email contacts to see if your friends and family already have Twitter accounts.
Twitter accounts are identified with an “at” symbol in front. So when discussing your Twitter account, you would say @YourName. Events use a hash mark. For instance, you can search for all Olympic tweets using #080808.
You can view anyone’s notes (or “tweets”) and anyone can sign up to view yours. Don’t worry – you will get an email letting you know every time someone follows you.
And of course, all of this is free.
Tags: Advertising, Business, Communication, failure, Marketing, Online marketing, Social Media, success
Marketers are confused these days. The things that have worked for decades aren’t working anymore. Can you imagine if you worked for 30 years in your given vocation and then, almost over night, all the rules changed?
In truth, marketing is only now becoming what it truly should have been – a conversation. Less lies, less spin. Marketers have been shoveling marshmallow fluff down the mouths of Americans and telling them it’s broccoli. And suddenly, as quick as you can confuse metaphors, we find that the emperor has no clothes.
I admit I’ve been frustrated with the old-school marketers. “What is with these guys, and why can’t they get it together?” But that’s not fair. Their whole world has shifted beneath them. I came to a better understanding watching a recent Robert Scoble interview with IBM engineer Mike Moran. (I highly encourage you to check it out: Robert Scoble’s interview with Mike Moran. It’s only 12 minutes long and well worth your time.)
Moran gives a cogent explanation of why marketers are having such a difficult time in the new web 2.0 environment. Here is a small sample:
“The change that’s really happening is you have to learn how to attract people to your message rather than pushing it at them. You have to figure out how you’re going to listen when they talk back. And you also have to watch what they do. Those three things are really critical because once you do them, you have to figure out how to respond.
Those three things are really critical because once you do them, you have to figure out how to respond. When I say ‘Do it wrong quickly,’ it’s not you trying to do it wrong, it’s that you kind of admit that what you’re doing is probably wrong because it usually is. And then you have to look back at the feedback from your target market to see how far off it is so that you know what to do next. And that’s really a tough change for a lot of marketers.
That seems really simple, but think of it: a whole industry has changed in a matter of what, less than a decade? That is pretty outstanding. It’s going from monologue to dialogue, from lecture to conversation, from directing to caring, from crossed fingers to metrics.
Tags: anthropology, Business, Forrester, Marketing, Online marketing, Social Media, trust, Web 2.0
I’ve had a little case of writer’s block this week, so I started with the basics: I read the definition of “marketing” in Wikipedia.
The impetus of this was a comment I wrote on a recent Brazen Careerist article in which I boiled down marketing to selling stuff. Really? That’s the business I’m in? I get up at 5am to write because I love making crap fly off the shelves?
Listen to Wikipedia’s definition: “Essentially, marketing is the process of creating or directing an organization to be successful in selling a product or service that people not only desire, but are willing to buy.”
Bleh! Sure, there’s creation and desire (positive), but there is also directing and willingness to consume (negative). It’s almost like it’s not enough for them to buy it; you gotta make them want to buy it. Make ’em beg.
Frankly, this doesn’t sound like the business I’m in at all. I find marketing these days to be customer based – where are they and what do they want? – and less, well, skeezy. Ideally, marketing these days isn’t invasive or worthless or annoying. In fact, marketing these days sounds a lot more like anthropology than marketing.
What do you think? Are web 2.0 marketers really anthropologists of the present time? Don’t we study why certain people behave a certain way (and how to influence that behavior)?
Tags: blogging, blogs, community, magazines, Marketing, PR, Public Relations, Social Media, Twitter, Web 2.0, Wired, WIRED magainze
I have been trying to figure out why WIRED’s cover story on Julia Allison incensed me so much.
You won’t find me bashing Paris Hilton or her ilk on this blog. As someone who barely watches TV, her brand of reality-show insta-celebs barely register on my consciousness. However, I do dwell in the PR world, the internet world, the social media world…and when you screw around in that world, I consider you fair game.
I don’t normally do hit pieces. I am usually positive about how marketing/PR/advertising can make the world a better place (no small task, believe me). But the Julia Allison story deserves some response on this blog because it illustrates:
1. How not to do PR
2. How not to use web 2.0 social media tools
3. How not to run a magazine
Here’s a quick recap of the article: WIRED portrays the piece as a “how-to,” giving advice on the art of online self-promotion. It details how a woman in her mid-20s weaseled into the digital pages of Gawker, Valleywag, and (now) WIRED.
On the splash page before the article, WIRED writes, “She can’t act. She can’t sing. She’s not rich…[S]he’s an internet celebrity.” In case you missed the underlying message, it’s that WIRED just gave a cover story to someone devoid of talent. Here is why Julia Allison is a terrible example of self-promotion, a warning of the missteps of public relations, and why WIRED ought to be ashamed.
Tags: advice, Business, career, Marketing, Online marketing
My syndication through BrazenCareerist has made me think a lot more about my career path. In part, my vocation (online marketing) did not even exist when I was in college.
How did I get here? And how can I help others find success in their marketing careers?
I posed the following question to my friends in the WordPress Marketing Bloggers Network (WMBN): “What was the most important lesson that prepared you for your marketing career?” Their replies were insightful, honest, and practical. Here are 5 essential tips to help you on your way to a career in marketing.
I guess I would boil it down to two words: Don’t Stop. Don’t stop writing, thinking, learning, meeting people, whatever. Once you stop, you’re done. Try something new or different and if it doesn’t quite work, don’t stop, just try it a different way. Marketing is about constantly tweaking, even when it’s working.
-Rick Liebling, eyecube
As a creative guy (copywriter), it was sometimes frustrating to see the client change something that I’d worked really hard on. But then a creative director sat me down, explained that my passion was admirable, but it was their money. It’s important to state the argument, but if they don’t agree, it’s their money.
Then, we went for a beer.
-Matt Hames, Share Marketing
Tags: Business, Communication, Marketing, Online marketing, Social Media, social networks, Web 2.0
Social networks are all the rage and many of my posts at OnlineMarketerBlog recommend social tools for businesses. However, there are potential pitfalls to consider before you facilitate interaction between customers and your business.
Here are 21 things your business should consider before starting a social network:
Internal (Your Business Capabilities)
1. Can you invest the necessary resources to run a social network properly? Can you afford the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars it takes to properly create and staff this resource?
2. What is the role of marketing, sales, IT, customer service, advertising, HR, etc.? Social networks often delve into all of these departments and more. Make sure all of your teams are engaged, enthused, and prepared.
3. While the potential ROI of a social network is proven, is this the best investment of your time? If you don’t have a unique product or your customers aren’t enthused (or your product isn’t any good), don’t look to a social network to solve your problems.
4. What are your expectations – number of members, amount of content, etc – on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis? Create little benchmarks to ensure you do not go far off course.
5. Will your employees have their own voice on the network? Will they use their full names? This transparency can be daunting, but it can also provide high emotional buy-in from employees.
6. Is the correct employee in charge of the social network? This is often not the highest paid or the most experienced.
7. Which came first: customer need, company strategy, or cool technology? If it’s anything besides customer need, reconsider everything.
Tags: AC/DC, awesomeness, Business, careers, copywriting, Marketing, Rock, writing
For many of us, AC/DC evokes memories of homecoming dance soundtracks and warm summer nights in a teenager’s Camaro. However, the bad schoolboys of rock have some valuable lessons to impart to copywriters as well.
1: “I’m just making my play. Don’t try to push your luck, just get out of my way…I’m back, back in black”
“A degree in English means you’ll be a high school teacher the rest of your life.” “I guess you don’t ever want to earn enough money to support your family.”
These very statements were told to me as I was contemplating a writing career. And they are bold-faced lies.
If your guidance counselor or girl/boyfriend or parents are trying to dissuade you from the career in writing you want, it is your responsibility to prove them wrong. Make your play in the world and then go back and tell them all about it.
2: “She wanted no applause, just another course…the earth was quaking, my mind was aching…and you shook me all night long”
There are generally two types of writers portrayed on television. You either have the Ginsberg-esque beatnik or the Mad Men type of highball swilling hack.
Like so many other things, the real world is not like that. Being a copywriter is fun, but plan to be on the roller coaster.
Copywriting is not a 9 to 5 job. It takes a lot of effort. You might actually sweat. It is mental activity that takes a physical toll. And it is truly spectacular. But be prepared to work all night long if you have to.
3: “I shoot from the hip. I was born with a stiff, a stiff upper lip”
You don’t want to go off half-cocked (groan), but as with any creative endeavor, you are going to face criticism of your work. Sometimes you will agree with the subjective assessment, and sometimes you won’t.
The best copywriters absorb the critique, compartmentalize it into the professional (not personal) part of their brains, and use it next time if it has any value. (Hint: it usually does.)
However, do not let any evaluation to permanently scar your confidence. Besides a good brain, a stiff upper lip is the most useful part of a writer’s anatomy.
Tags: Business, H&R Block, human capital, Marketing, Online marketing, outsource, outsourcing, PR, priorities, Public Relations, Seth Godin, Social Media, Sprint, technology, Verizon, Web 2.0
Technology has been replacing humans at work for many years. And recently the remaining humans in American and elsewhere have been replaced by other humans in areas that pay lower wages. The result has been a significant deemphasis in the value of human capital in business in America.
Here’s The Equation
Web 2.0 amplifies the voices of dissatisfied consumers. And yet, most companies have been subtracting the number of humans period (technology) or humans housed at the corporate office (out-sourcing). Finally, another increasing trend is the face-to-face contact consumers expect from companies (ComcastCares, anyone?).
Increase in personal interaction – humans equipped to handle that interaction + web 2.0 vehicles to spread word of dissatisfaction = potential major headache for companies.
The Good News
Some companies, however, understand the increasing importance of the customer experience. H&R Block set up a Second Life avatar to answer tax questions during scheduled meeting times, in addition to their efforts on Twitter and Facebook. They understood that they were required to go to where their customers were, instead of expecting customers to come to them.
This outreach isn’t easy though. The Social Media podcast spoke with Paula Drum, VP of Marketing for H&R Block about this outreach:
“The other big surprise is how much time you have to put in from a human capital standpoint. And we knew that going in, that the trade-off between buying media is going to be the human capital side, but really understanding that human capital side of it and thinking about it from [the perspective that] ‘if this is successful, how do you scale it to make sure you can still deliver the same experience.'”
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